ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Ticker) -- Jaraan Cornell scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds as Purdue advanced to the West Region final of the NCAA Tournament with a 75-66 victory over feisty Gonzaga.
Purdue (24-9) will face the winner of the Wisconsin-Lousiana State contest in an "Elite Eight" game on Saturday and is looking for its first "Final Four appearance since 1980.
Fourth-seeded Purdue used its superior size and strength to dominate inside. The Boilermakers grabbed 20 offensive rebounds and scored 23 second-chance points.
Trailing by double digits on several occasions, the 10th-seeded Bulldogs (26-9) continually clawed their way back but Purdue always answered with runs of its own.
Purdue took a 56-39 lead on a 3-pointer by Carson Cunningham with nine minutes to go, but Casey Calvary's jumper capped a 14-5 run which pulled the Bulldogs within 61-53 with 3:35 left.
But Brian Cardinal scored off an inbound pass, Mike Robinson converted a layup and Cunningham added two free throws to extend the lead to 67-53 in the final two minutes.
Calvary had 20 points for Gonzaga, which reached the West Region final of last season's NCAA Tournament before falling to eventual national champion Connecticut.
The Boilermakers' defense hounded Gonzaga throughout. Unable to do much damage on the inside, the Bulldogs relied heavily on perimeter shooting but had little success, hitting only 5-of-20 from behind the arc.
In their previous two tournament wins, Purdue held first-round opponent Dayton to 2-of-17 3-point shooting and second-round foe Oklahoma to 4-of-19.
The Boilermakers recovered from a early deficit to tie the game at 10-10, then used a 22-9 run to take a 32-19 lead with three minutes to go before the break. Purdue led 35-22 at the half, outrebounding the less physical Bulldogs, 22-12, while holding them to 35 percent (9-of-26) shooting.
Gonzaga opened the second half with a 10-2 run which cut the deficit to 37-32 with 16 minutes left. But the Boilermakers responded with a 13-2 run of their own to stretch the lead to 50-34 at the 11:53 mark.
Cunningham nailed a 3-pointer to provide the Boilermakers their largest lead, 56-39, with nine minutes left. Gonzaga answered with six straight points to cut the deficit to 11, but Purdue went to its inside strength and pushed the lead to 61-45 with just over six minutes left.
Cunningham finished with 14 points, Greg McQuay had 11 and seven rebounds and Cardinal added 10 and eight for the Boilermakers, who shot 45 percent (25-of-56) from the floor and held a 44-33 rebounding edge. Purdue converted 20-of-30 free throws.
Axel Dench and Richie Frahm had 14 points apiece for Gonzaga, which shot 44 percent (27-of-61) and hit 7-of-11 free throws.